Paris Lit Up Open Mic – featuring William Walrond Strangmeyer
Hosted by JFMcG. Photos by Melissa Clausse.
Poets pouring out the portes this week at Paris Lit Up Open Mic. Literally : the door open was kept open and the poetry spilled wild, primavera verses onto the semi-temperate Parisian streets, starting with co-host Ms. Emily Ruck (that sounds like Fuck) Keene (no hyphen) a.k.a. “Secret Agent Mustard” disguised as Stephen Dobyns. Then our underage genius Nina showed the boys how it is done with her take on Camus’ The Plauge and that long-sought friend, Sleep. At this point I was already drunk, so I called up reinforcements from the newly-founded Belleville Park Poets : B-B-B-B-Brid is the word. From the convenience store, he brought poetry from a photo and a Dentist. Evan’s hair instead brought along a turquoise pearl-snap shirt and some F.G. Lorca and Chilean poetry from Raúl Zurita.
New faces : Rudah discussed various responses to the question, If They Ask You…, Denise began her break-up letter with Dear French Language, offending the French in the room and Jennifer took us into an Indestructible Deep Freeze. Then Remi tried to use his guitar to talk a supermodel into having sex with him… when that didn’t work, he used chloroform. Max flashed back to dirty water in Brooklyn neighborhoods followed by Sam’s untitled rage against tortured genius bullshit and Billy Bones. Kate closed, pretending to be a writer (prose!).
Our Special Guest, William Walrond Strangmeyer, better known as Bill, has worked in amusement parks as a caller, in banks, bookstores, cinema, theater, door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, restaurants, insurance sales, taxi driving, telephone sales, warehouses — in the U.S., Copenhagen, Athens, Crete, London and Switzerland. But now he’s in France. With us. Taking advantage of Paris Lit Up’s Complete Lack of Rules, he read a stunning piece about an old friend then passing on. Bill’s voice is clear, clean, down to earth. With simple words, Bill constructs narratives that take the listener from the hard concrete of the streets to the deepest existential depths of human experience. Impressive, exhilarating, to say the least.
After wetting our lips and fumigating our lungs, we came back for another go at this poetry thing. Ghérasim Luca body echo got the audience’s attention, followed by a Victor’s sing-along Make Friends with People At Work. We did, but Tiana doesn’t trust anyone anymore. So Sue remembered John Kliphen from Poets Live and James Lee couldn’t find his three bananas in Korean. Pablo brought back some portugêse de sua terra and Yann’s After Party included subhuman vikings. Anthony was almost forgotten in his Travesty. Then the spotlight hungry came back: Nina talked about when she was 15 (yesterday), Bird had Nutella Bones, Evan’s hair played Borge’s Caja de musica, Kate still pretended to be a real writer. Finally, Bill, through his main influences (science fiction, doo-wop and psychedelic music) confessed his failed loves, drank beer and promised to be back. See you next Thursday.